July 31, 2021

Math Wizard enters Charles Town Classic on upswing; Hopeful Growth, Tonalist’s Shape headline Charles Town Oaks

Math Wizard
Math Wizard wins the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. at Parx Racing on September 21, 2019 (c) Equi-Photo/Bill Denver

A much improved effort last out in the Monmouth Cup (G2) makes Math Wizard the potential horse to fear late Friday evening in the $600,000 Charles Town Classic (G1) over 1 1/8 miles.

An upset 31-1 winner of last fall’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1) over the likes of Mr. Money, War of Will, and Improbable, Math Wizard went unplaced in three subsequent outings. However, the addition of blinkers this summer appeared to have its desired effect last month when the colt finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind Global Campaign, in the Monmouth Cup over 9 furlongs.

“He ran one of the best races of his life last time out according to the numbers, and he’s been training great coming out of it,” said trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. “I think he’s going to continue to progress and take another step forward on Friday.”

Mr. Money has also struggled since the Pennsylvania Derby, finishing unplaced in all four appearances. The son of Goldencents had won four graded stakes in a row before finishing a neck behind Math Wizard at Parx.

“He caught a sloppy track that he didn’t like at Oaklawn. I thought he ran a pretty good race in the Blame at Churchill with a really wide trip. Then we got stuck without a spot with so many races getting canceled. So we ran him in that race at Keeneland and 6 1/2 furlongs is not his deal. So it really hasn’t been his fault,” trainer Bret Calhoun said.

The 8-year-old War Story has placed in the last three editions of the Charles Town Classic. Under the care of Elizabeth Dobles in his last two starts, the son of Northern Afleet captured the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) in December and finished third in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) when last seen in January.

After winning 13 of his first 17 starts, including last year’s Classic, the West Virginia-bred Runnin’toluvya has dropped four of his past five, several of which were against state-bred company. Tenfold, the 2019 Pimlico Special (G3) winner, has placed third in the New Orleans Classic (G2) and Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) in his last two outings, while Multiplier narrowly missed in the Santa Anita H. (G1) earlier this year.

Charles Town Oaks

Several former aspirants for the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) will take a shorter and much easier route in the $200,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) over 7 furlongs.

Hopeful Growth enters with a 3-for-5 mark including a commanding, four-length score in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) earlier this month, while multiple graded stakes winner Tonalist’s Shape and 2019 Frizette (G1) heroine Wicked Whisper look to get back on track after some disappointing runs of late.

A newcomer in the graded ranks is Boerne, a Texas-bred who’s won four of six including the 7-furlong Azalea S. at Gulfstream last time. However, the daughter of Fed Biz faces other speed here and has not yet raced around two turns.